More than 60 students from 18 Pikes Peak region high schools got a taste of life on the CC campus in July during the Stroud Scholars summer experience.
The Stroud Scholars program honors the legacy of siblings Kelley Dolphus Stroud ’31 and Effie Stroud Frazier ’31, two of the earliest African American students to graduate from CC. As part of the college’s antiracism commitment and access and affordability focus, the program prepares talented local high schoolers for selective college environments through academic preparation, mentorship, and guidance navigating the college admissions process — culminating with admission to CC.
To be accepted into the program, students must be intellectually curious and growth-minded, with the potential to thrive in rigorous academic settings if given the opportunity. Students may be the first in their families to graduate from college, and many come from a low-income family, self-identify as students of color or another socially marginalized identity, or attend an under-resourced high school.
Stroud Scholars take part in a three-week residential experience for three consecutive summers, starting after their freshman year of high school. Living on the CC campus on weekdays, they take immersive quantitative reasoning and writing courses co-taught by CC faculty and local high school teachers. This year, six of the 12 Stroud instructors are CC alumni.
Students also choose from various adjunct courses to learn new skills and discover their interests — including CPR and first aid, computer science, urban agriculture, health and wellness, pottery, and a leadership class called Changemaker 101.
On the weekends, participants may go home or stay on campus, where they enjoy guided activities like rock climbing, bike riding, a wellness expo, and a field-day-style sports competition.
Students also spend time learning how to navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes — and as they progress through the program, they build a foundation to thrive in college as they hone their aspirations and connect with supportive peers and mentors.
“My family immigrated here, and I would be the first to graduate from college. So, I have always had that dream to go to college and graduate and make my family proud,” said Kennia Vidal, a rising senior from Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs. “The Stroud Scholars program helps you see what the next steps are. My school doesn’t offer much of that, so this program really helps me have that college insight.”
The first summer session, in 2020, was held virtually in a condensed timeframe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the residential experience took place in-person for the first time, and in 2022, the program welcomed three cohorts of students (rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to campus.
Knowledge and skills gained during the summer experience are then supported and furthered through a series of academic-year programs.
Students who successfully complete the program gain admission to CC with a financial aid package that enables them to attend — but going to CC is not a requirement. Rather, the goal is for participants to feel prepared to thrive at a selective college or university, so they can intentionally choose the path that best fits their goals.
Many students, however, feel connected to CC after experiencing the classroom environment and building relationships at the college for the last three years.
“I want to go somewhere that’s super inclusive, but I also just like CC as a college and the way that they teach. It’s a lot more one-on-one, and classes are smaller,” said Jordan Barker, a rising senior at Fountain-Ft. Carson High School in Fountain, Colorado. “And getting to experience the community here has been so eye-opening. It makes me want to participate more in my community — to stay and expand my horizons here, because this is my home.”
To learn more about the Stroud Scholars, or to support the program financially, visit www.coloradocollege.edu/stroudscholars.